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Why we are the way we are, and why we won't change

Day 1,866, 22:43 by Chris Carnage
Warning: TL;DR wall of text with few pics, you are not required to read this so please don't whine in the comments.

I am normally an optimistic person, but I'm feeling decidedly pessimistic about the future of our country right now. As this year draws to a close I pause to reflect on what has been and what is to become. Unfortunately both of those things seem to meld into one and this is the source of my pessimism.



I've been thinking among other things about who we are as a people, our culture and characteristics. It is fair to say we are a less than harmonious society. We've fought some epic battles and campaigns, fought off PTOers, fought against colonisers and imperialists for most of our history. But sometimes it seems that our most bitter and fiercely-fought battles are reserved for each other rather than a common enemy.

In RL Australia (where most of our population lives) we are an egalitarian and relatively classless society with a strong sense of justice and fair play. We have a somewhat bizarre combination of respect for the rule of law and social norms combined with a healthy disrespect for authority. We do not tolerate corruption and elitism.

In RL we have a two-party Westminster political system characterised in recent years by acrimony and mudslinging. Our eAus political system is a bastardised melding of our RL institutions with eRep's presidential system. The result is a system that has been explicitly designed to be oppositional - the senate (an out-of-game legislative body formed from the congress) provides a check on the authority of the president and their cabinet. Combine this with a player base that has little respect for authority and it is very evident that we do not have a 'command and control' political system, anyone can (and often does) challenge decisions.


The happy face of Australian politics

Our political system is in my opinion designed to maximise potential for internal disputes and minimise the ability to make hard decisions quickly. In RL this is possibly a virtue, in a fast-moving game it causes problems.

As a large proportion of our longer-serving and active citizens have at one time or another been involved in politics, the intense and bitter argument between rival politicians has formed cracks and fissures that spill over into everyday life. Debates quickly degenerate into personal vendettas (sometimes real, sometimes imagined) that the average citizen (and particularly the newer citizen) just can't follow without knowledge of the old fault lines that exist in our factionalised and tribal social order.

Add to the mix the heavy reliance on out-of-game forums and IRC to manage the business of the nation and we have another opportunity for dispute. Who gets to be moderator, who gets moderated, how are they selected and challenged etc etc. eRep does not provide sufficient in-game communication tools so IRC and Forums are both necessary, but their management simply provides a proxy target for those who are discontented with the social order and feel marginalised and victimised.

People don't join a game to lose. Unfortunately due to eAus' poor geopolitical situation we have spent most of our time as a nation losing. Our history is testament to the fact that a nation in a remote corner of the world surrounded by unfriendly neighbours is a hopeless cause.

But the depth of opportunity to look for wins in political gameplay have provided a great substitute for a nation disempowered and hopelessly outnumbered. To some degree we may have substituted our ambition for the nation with our ambition for ourselves, our party, our faction. This is my subjective opinion but it seems to me the times we have seen most unity of purpose have been those times when we are faced with PTO, ie those times when our POLITICAL system has been under threat.

All of this, the RL influence and our e-history have created a society that is argumentative and combative at best, spiteful and vitriolic at worst.

I'm going to come right out and say that we can't change this, at least not quickly. Maybe we shouldn't, why try to change who you are? We just need to make the best of it. We can tinker around the edges and make marginal improvements over time. I believe we need to focus on two things:

1. New citizen support - the greatest single detrimental effect of our deeply factional political system and society is that it marginalises and disillusions younger citizens. We must find better means to induct people, explain how things work outside of game mechanics, and mitigate the initially negative effect of the societal wall.

2. New goals - it only takes a few minutes a day to play the game. Many of us spend more than a few minutes playing and the devil makes work for idle hands. We need some goals to work towards so that some of that energy can be spent in more constructive ways.

I still feel pessimistic, if you've read this far I'm sorry for the quality and general tone of the article. I need to get this out of my system so that I can start the new year with it all behind me.
 

Comments

Chris Carnage
Chris Carnage Day 1,866, 22:44

I'm in a dark place...

BOUD1CCA
BOUD1CCA Day 1,867, 23:44

Excellent article & you have put your finger on the issues. \o/

Callumh123
Callumh123 Day 1,867, 01:21

Brilliant mate.

roboz
roboz Day 1,867, 01:31

Great article mate.

Xavier Griffith
Xavier Griffith Day 1,867, 04:15

Chris, Climb out of your "dark place". Your article is accurate and I agree completely.

But its not always like that and while it is for some, not for everybody. As probably one of the longest political figures left in eAus, I have had my political differences with those on the Parliament floor, but I have always acknowledged good advice, information, decisions or performance where it was warranted, and always respected the right of my political opponents to have a different view or opinion to my own, provided its my view or opinion they attack and not me personally, I don't hold anything against them personally or even into RL.

Your concepts about improving new player intergration is exactly the type of thing the ARP is talking about when we talk about the "Revolution" Only we that have been here before (and I mean everybody that has been in the game for at least probably 6 months or more) can help educate the new players and make them feel included, even if perhaps a little out of place to start with while they run through the inititives we have in place to help bring them up to speed.

Arcaian
Arcaian Day 1,867, 05:27

You raise good points, and it does seem rather dark for our nation - but there always is hope. We take pride in our parties rather than our country because there is often little of our country to be proud of - if CoT does go well, we might be in a position to actually grow for once. This would definitely change the outlook of many Australians - especially if it's like it is now, with very little to fight. I currently can't even join the MU I'm in untill I win 10 fights - I can't do this without moving countries, no-one is fighting! Without the wars we've always fought, our outlook will have to change - our ruling party is also a MU. We've been militaristic for the last 1,867 days of eRepublik, and if we can't fight, we'll have to change.

Icetek
Icetek Day 1,867, 10:08

Good article Chris, but what your asking is a impossible task. We as humans are programmed to hurt, fight and wage wars since the time of man kind. What your asking in this article is just about as equivalent to asking the whole world not to steal, cheat, kill and fight.

I know me talking about this seems ironic in some way, but i suppose this is a "truth be told" moments.

Chris Carnage
Chris Carnage Day 1,867, 11:58

Thanks everyone.

@Icetek - though it may come across that way I'm not asking for us to change, just acknowledging who we are, why we got this way, and recognising that we will NOT change. Some nations fight and wage wars against other nations, we fight and wage wars amongst ourselves. At least partially I think this is because we have had no success as a nation in fighting wars, we have to find other arenas to get our wins.

Icetek
Icetek Day 1,867, 17:06

That could be 1 reason, but see me coming to Australia in real life i have my opinions also. And even tho this might be seen as unfair to true Australians, but i been around the world and Australia really does act in a way where they welcome fighting. Your youth is a big problem, no discipline and no shame.

And the Lebos/Arabs (and i am by no means a racist) the way they act is just unbelievable. And i would not be surprised is some of the behavior of Australians is due to them. But that's just my opinion. And its so funny because in real life when i tell this to someone, there already 100 steps ahaid of me, just laugh, and say "yep, i know what you mean".

I was just talking to a older man the other day, he was just laughing at me because i only been in Australia for a year and think its bad.

Arcaian
Arcaian Day 1,867, 21:36

Similar to the debate we're having on the forums, hey Icetek?

It really depends on where in Australia you are. After spending 10 years in one area of Australia, there weren't many idiots. One area had the "lads" who loved to act like idiots, and swear and fight. But other than that, most people were well behaved. At the school, in a class of 60 students, maybe 5 wanted to fight. It's nowhere near as bad as some places, although in Australia people tend to enjoy fighting rather than doing it out of neccesity, which is what I think you're picking up on.

infin
infin Day 1,868, 23:59

As Lawrie Lawrence tells his swimmers: Get over it and get on with it. I have never understood whinging.

BTW the use of "revolution" in this paradigm is disingenuous. A revolution is a violent shift in a power base and political thinking, neither of which can practically happen under the erep mechanics.

Arfman
Arfman Day 1,868, 01:02

We all have a fair go, mate.

BOUD1CCA
BOUD1CCA Day 1,868, 04:41

its a velvet revolution infin - we don't snatch the levers of power away, we gently prise "their" paws off them.
It can be done

Vyrin the First
Vyrin the First Day 1,868, 06:22

Thanks for taking this on Chris. Like I've said from the beginning - this is intensely obvious to a new player and you are right about the effect it has. Thankfully they haven't tried to shout you down as much as they did me for saying it.

Which gets to my second point - this does not have to be like living in a real country (vs Icetek). It is a game with pretty simple rules to which a whole lot of complexity is artificially added. No point for people to sit back after a year or two of playing and pretend like they've gained so much wisdom that they are unassailable. And then on top of that do nothing to organize D1,2,3 or help move others to greater understanding, which would help eAUS win in the long run.

The thing that keeps me playing is that certain individuals are starting to do things differently. There is hope.

Binda33
Binda33 Day 1,868, 06:27

CC you promised "a few pics" yet I only see TWO (2), which is not a few. Not even a pic of a cat! I am disappoint...

Icetek
Icetek Day 1,868, 11:45

Vyrin im a little drunk atm, but, like being in eUSA and eAUS makes a big difference because people tend to like role play in there surrounding (rl politics) Which is not a bad thing at all, if anything its people using there imagination, and imagination is more powerful then any force. Even the A-bomb was created based on imagination to make my point.

Me personally i love/cherish and give my biggest respects to a person who can use his head outside the "box". And me talking about this just made me realize something in real life about myself. THANK YOU!

venja
venja Day 1,868, 20:04

@binda, pic there of Bob Katter - fairly close

Xavier Griffith
Xavier Griffith Day 1,868, 21:20

@venja: roflmao

Detroit34
Detroit34 Day 1,868, 22:50

Chris Carnage phrase 'spiteful and vitriolic’ sums up the problem for me. I know one eAustralian player in RL so while I am bemused and mildly irritated by discourtesy and juvenile play all comments are anonymous as far as I am concerned and I treat them as water off a duck’s back. But how many players have we lost from eAustralia and the game as a result of 'spiteful and vitriolic comments?

 
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